F-150/F-250: Why Won't My Transmission Shift?

There you are, sitting at a stop sign on a deserted highway, when suddenly your transmission won't shift into gear. Before you panic, check out our handy step-by-step guide on how to diagnose and fix a transmission that won't shift.

By Brett Foote - November 13, 2014

This article applies to the F-150 and F-250 Super Duty (2004 - 2014)

Transmissions are complicated and expensive, which generally means it's time to worry when they won't shift. Before running off to the mechanic or RockAuto for a rebuild, check out this step-by-step guide on how to diagnose and fix a transmission that won't shift.

Step 1 – Check to see which transmission the truck has

Check the door jamb sticker in the F-150 or F-250 Super Duty to figure out all sorts of information about the truck, including which transmission it has. The code for your transmission should appear in the circled area indicated in Figure 1. Your sticker might not look exactly like this, but the format should generally be the same.

Figure 1. All Ford trucks come with an info sticker in the driver side door jamb.
F-150 Transmission CodesF-250 Super Duty Transmission Codes
Q - 4-speed automatic, (4R75E) 2 - 5-speed manual, TREMEC (TR4050)
6 - 6-speed automatic, (6R80) P - 6-speed automatic (6R140)
Q - 4-speed automatic, 4R75E (F-150/Mark LT) T - 5-speed automatic (5R110W)
M - 5-speed manual, M5R2-C (F-150) W - 6-speed automatic (6R140) diesel
F - 4-speed automatic, 4R75E (Mark LT) 5 - 6-speed manual, Dana (Z/F S6-650)
A - 4-speed automatic, 4R70E (F-150) 7 - 6-speed manual, Dana (Z/F M6HD-W), diesel
B - 5-speed automatic (5R110W), Hi-Torque, diesel
T - 5-speed automatic (5R110W)

Step 2 – Check for transmission codes

Turn the truck off and look at the instrument panel. Keep your OBD II code reader handy.

  • If the O/D light is flashing, go to the O/D light diagnostic.
  • If you're getting a trans fault error, pull codes with your reader to see what is wrong.
  • If you have no lights, move on to step 2.

Related Article:

4R75E DTCs for Slipping Transmission

Diagnostic Trouble CodeFailing ComponentCause for CodeSymptoms
P0102, P0103, P1100, P1101 Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF) The Mass Air Flow sensor in your truck isn't working correctly, causing the transmission to misbehave Incorrect reading from the MAF could result in all sorts of transmission weirdness. Soft shifting, hard shifting, odd shift points, etc.
P0705, P0708 Transmission Range sensor (TR) TR Circuit failure Harsh shifts. Stuck in D or 2.
P0712, P0713 Transmission Fluid Temperature (TFT) 712 = sensor circuit grounded
713 = sensor circuit open
Hard shifting.
P0715, P0717, P0718 Turbine Shaft Speed Sensor (TSS) Signal from TSS dead, intermittent, on noisy Hard shifts
P0720, P0721, P0722 Output Shaft Sensor (OSS) Signal from OSS dead, intermittent, on noisy Hard shifting, abnormal shifting, slipping,
P0731, P0732, P0733, P0734, Shift Solenoid A/B Shift Solenoid A/B failure or internal transmission failure No gear in 1, 2, 3, 4 (respectively)
P1714, P1715 Shift Solenoid A/B 4 = SSA mechanical failure
5 = SSB mechanical failure
Solenoid is either stuck closed or open due to a physical failure. Replace them.
P0740, P0743 Torque Converter Clutch (TCC) TCC solenoid is failing or TCC is slipping excessively. Transmission Warning light may flash. Engine might stall in D at low speeds or never engage.
P0741 TCC TCC is slipping excessively due to internal, mechanical issues. Slipping transmission
P0748, P0963 Electronic Pressure Control sensor (EPC) EPC solenoid short Limited torque, slipping transmission, or harsh shifting if the circuit is stuck open.
P1728 Transmission Slip Error Truck computer senses excessive slipping Transmission is slipping, TCC operating erratically
P1740 TCC TCC solenoid mechanical failure Stalls in D and 2, or torque converter never applies
P1741 TCC Excessive TCC engagement issue Engine rushing/oscillation in 3rd gear. TCC is slipping
P1742, P1743 TCC, internal issues TCC solenoid has failed, or the TCC itself has failed Hard shifting
P1744 TCC Truck senses extra slippage from the TCC Slipping transmission
P0962, P1747 EPC EPC solenoid malfunctioning (short circuit) Minimum EPC pressure, reduced torque, slippage
P1760 EPC EPC solenoid signal dead Reduction in torque

6R80 DTCs for Slipping Transmission

Diagnostic Trouble CodeFailing ComponentCause for CodeSymptoms
P0715, P0716, P0717 Turbine Shaft Speed Sensor (TSS) short circuit, noisy or lost signal, no signal May cause Check Engine Light, will trigger Transmission Warning Light, inability to shift from 3rd, hard shifts, "slipping" transmission/No TCC engagement
P0720, P0721, P0722, P0723 OSS Sensor short circuit, noisy or lost signal, no signal Check Engine Light, hard shifts, "slipping" transmission/No TCC engagement
P0731, P0732, P0733, P0734, P0735, P0729 Transmission error 1 = 1st gear
2 = 2nd gear
3 = 3rd gear
4 = 4th gear
5 = 5th gear
29 = 6th gear
Missing gear. Engine flare in missed gear, hard shifts, TCIL
P0740, 1 TCC circuit failure, circuit open Slipping shifts, harsh shifts, no shifts, Triggers "Limp home mode," Transmission Warning light, and maybe Check Engine Light.

P0781, P0782, P0783, P0784, P0729

Shift Errors 1 = D1-2
2 = D2-3
3 = D3-4
4 = D4-5
29 = D5-6

These codes indicate shifting errors. You may be stuck in gear and have strange shifting from one gear to another.
P0960, P0961, P0962, P0963 Line Pressure Control Solenoid The line pressure control solenoid is shorting out. Hard shifts, Transmission Warning Message.

Pro Tip

If your truck is throwing codes that aren't listed here, you can figure them out by bringing your truck to a local auto parts store. More than likely they'll pull your codes for free. Or, invest in a service manual for your particular year, make and model of Ford.

Step 3 – Check your transmission fluid

Pull the dipstick, let it drip, and check for a burnt smell or discoloration in the fluid.

  • If secured and the light goes off, you have solved your problem.
Figure 2. The quality of your fluid will wear out more quickly with higher transmission temperatures.

Step 4 – Check selector lever linkage

Check for binding of the line or other obstructions. If damaged, replace. Doing this yourself can be challenging for folks who never work on their car. The price for parts and labor isn't horrendous, so it might be worth it to just take it to the shop.

  • If your truck has trouble shifting into other gears, or other shift lever weirdness, it might need some adjustment.
  • The Transmission Range Sensor might be damaged. If it is, your truck should give you a check engine light. Replace it if necessary.
Figure 3. This is the gear selector lever on the Torqueshift transmission for Super Duties. A similar looking unit will be in the same place on other transmission types .

Step 5 - Pull transmission pan and filter

Remove transmission fluid pan and pull transmission filter. Look for clogs and other damage.

  • If there are chunks of metal in your transmission pan, you have a broken transmission problem.
  • If clogged or dirty, replace. You can remove the transmission pan by unbolting it. Read the article linked below for a more in-depth walkthrough.

Related Article:

Figure 4. A clean oil pan. Evidence of damage inside the transmission can show up here as metal shavings and broken parts.

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